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17 Nov 2020 | 04:02 AM UTC

Authorities to limit public gatherings from November 24

Swedish government limits public gatherings to eight people from November 24; follow authority directives

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In response to a rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, the Swedish government has announced that public gatherings will be limited to eight people from Tuesday, November 24. The measure will be in place for at least four weeks but will not apply to private gatherings. Current restrictions limit public gatherings to between 50 and 300 people, depending on the type of event. Restaurants and other dining establishments are already limited to a maximum of eight diners per table. Bars and restaurants are prohibited from selling alcohol after 22:00 (local time) from Friday, November 20, until the end of February 2021. Many of the most populous regions are under enhanced restrictions, with measures varying from region to region. Generally, these include advice to avoid unnecessary trips outside of the region and to minimize time spent in public indoor environments. A full list of the different measures in the various regions can be found here.

A ban on the entry of non-EU residents to Sweden has been extended until December 22. Exemptions to the ban apply to certain countries, a full list of which can be found here.

As of Tuesday, November 17, health authorities have confirmed a total of 177,355 COVID-19 cases with 6164 associated deaths in Sweden. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

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